Take Charge - Problem Solving

Problem Solving Step 1:

  • Spend a moment thinking about how to describe the problem you want to tackle. You’re going to write this description in the centre of the mind map as shown. Try to be as specific as you can, and focus on what you want to solve. For instance, you might have a problem with someone’s attitude towards you at work. Rather than put down ‘Katy is too bossy and makes my life a misery’, you might find it more useful to put ‘How can I deal with Katy’s bossiness better?’ 

 

Problem Solving

 

What is a mind map?

A mind map is a diagram that uses words or sketches to note ideas linked to a central, key word. A mind map gives you the opportunity to explore many different concepts and shows the process of developing them.  Mind maps are useful for generating, visualising and organizing thoughts and ideas. They can also be used to make decisions, solve problems and recall memories.

 

Problem Solving Step 2: 

  • See if you can come up with as many solutions as you can to overcome the problem.  You’re not making any decisions at this stage, so even if your idea seems silly or unrealistic, write it down

 

Tip: 

Sometimes very good ideas come from starting points that could seem silly, so be open-minded with yourself, and try to switch off that judgemental voice we all have in our heads.

  • Add more solutions to the mind map if you think of them. If you can only think of a few, then that’s fine too

 

For example:

 

How can I deal with Katy's bossiness better?

Problem Solving Step 3:

  • For each solution, think of at least one advantage and disadvantage. This can be a useful process for weighing up your choices and making a decision. Write them down in the table as shown

 

For example - how can I deal with Katy's bossiness better?

 

How can I deal with Katy's bossiness better?

 

Helpful tip:

Sometimes it can help talking through your ideas with someone else. This can be particularly helpful if your decision affects other people.

 

Problem Solving Step 4:

  • Choose 1 or 2 solutions that you would like to try

 

My chosen solution(s):

My plan is:

What am I going to do?

Who am I going to involve?

When am I going to do it?

 

Tip:

Trust your own feelings on this; choose the one that has the best benefits for you at this time. If it doesn’t work out, you can always try a different solution.  Make a plan of how you’re going to put these solutions into action. When making a plan, think about what you’re going to do, when you’re going to do it, and how it involves other people. The plan is a series of steps needed to put the solution into practice.

 

 

See our example below:

 

My chosen solution(s):

Solution 2 - Offload to a colleague
Solution 4 - Find ways to be more assertive – read about it/do a short course

 

My plan is:

 

What am I going to do?

  • I will arrange to meet a trusted colleague after work and ask for her confidence

  • I will read about assertiveness, and find out if there are any local courses

    I will try these two solutions first, and if the problem persists, I will then talk to my manager

 

Who am I going to involve?

  • I have known Barbara for a few years, she is a friend, and I know I can trust her

 

When am I going to do it?

  • I will ring Barbara this evening
  • I will find out about assertiveness courses and book this weekend

 

Helpful Tip:

Don’t forget to acknowledge the positive action you have taken to solve the problem. Even if the problem is not fully solved, praising signs of progress, no matter how small, is an important step in recognising achievements, gaining confidence and building self-belief.


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